HPU announces engineering science degree program

BROWNWOOD – April 5, 2013 – Howard Payne University recently announced the launch of an engineering science degree program, designed to prepare students to enter the workforce as engineering assistants or to pursue bachelor’s or master’s degrees in engineering disciplines of their choice. The degree program was approved during a recent meeting of HPU’s Board of Trustees.

The multidisciplinary degree program will draw on the knowledge and expertise of HPU’s science, math and computer information systems faculty members while combining with the university’s liberal arts background and Christian worldview.

In addition to taking core courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry and computer information technology, students will study statics, dynamics, mechanics of materials, thermodynamics, fluids, circuit analysis and environmental issues and engineering. During their senior year, all students will select a focus area of study and complete a proposal that integrates the scientific principles of research, design and analysis and applies them to engineering.

“There is a strong market for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills in the U.S.,” said Dr. Brett Coulter, associate professor of mathematics, who serves as the engineering science program director. “Our newly developed program will provide HPU students with solid STEM training. All of the faculty members involved have both practical experience and much graduate-level preparation in the engineering science courses they will teach.”

Before coming to HPU, Dr. Coulter, a civil engineer, spent 13 years performing thermo-stress and structural analyses on solid rocket motors and nozzles for The Aerospace Corporation, a contractor for the U.S. Air Force Space Command. He has taught at the undergraduate level for many years, including courses in mathematics, statics, dynamics and mechanics of materials. He received his doctorate in theoretical and applied mechanics from the University of Illinois.

In addition to Dr. Coulter, other engineering science faculty members from the mathematics department include Dr. Kenneth Word, department chair and professor of mathematics, who earned a doctorate in mathematics education from The University of Texas; and Tom Johnson, assistant professor of developmental mathematics, who holds a master’s in environmental science from West Texas A&M University and was employed as a QA/QC Coordinator for ZIPP Fertilizers for seven years.

Engineering science faculty members from the biological and physical science departments include Dr. Pam Bryant, professor of chemistry, chair of the department of physical sciences and interim dean of the School of Science and Mathematics, who holds a doctorate in chemistry from Louisiana State University and completed post-doctoral work at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Dr. Gerry Clarkson, associate professor of physical science, who holds a doctorate in geophysics from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology; and Dr. Gerald Maxwell, adjunct instructor, who holds a doctorate in electrical engineering from The University of Texas and has 25 years industrial experience in computer design and biomedical instrumentation and 10 years of classroom experience at the high school and university levels.

Dr. Lester Towell, department chair and associate professor of computer information systems, will also teach in the engineering science program. He holds a doctorate in instructional technology and distance education from Nova Southeastern University and taught physics and reactor principles in the Naval Nuclear Power School for four years.

According to Dr. Word, HPU’s four-year engineering science degree will be more robust than the typical ‘3+2’ engineering program offered at other liberal arts universities, in which students complete three years at a liberal arts university and two in an engineering undergraduate program.

The faculty members and administrators believe that a general engineering degree that promotes critical thinking and problem solving such as HPU’s engineering science degree will always be in demand.

“The diverse backgrounds of those who will teach the engineering science courses will serve our students well – both while they are on campus and once they leave to pursue their careers or further their education,” said Dr. Mark Tew, university provost and chief academic officer.

For more information about the program, contact HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics at (325) 649-8400 or via e-mail at dhackney@hputx.edu.

Note: Future students, and others interested in the engineering science program, may download more information here.